Through an integrated educational program focused on academics, research, and community, MIT prepares students to address complex global challenges in service to the nation and the world.
In our classrooms, students gain an understanding of the fundamentals of science, technology, and other areas of scholarship, with a deep commitment to developing problem-solving skills, excellence in quantitative and qualitative analysis, historical and literary insight, and an appreciation for the scientific method. Hands-on research opportunities provide students with a foundation for professional competence and opportunities to learn by doing. And with a mission that charges us to work “effectively for the betterment of humankind,” MIT presents its students with opportunities to engage meaningfully with their communities, hone their leadership and communication skills, and develop an appreciation for the application and impact of their work.
The continuous renewal and renovation of MIT’s physical facilities, guided by a commitment to strengthening campus community and supporting innovation, is essential to the Institute’s mission to advance knowledge and educate students. The MIT campus is undergoing significant change, with smart residence halls and common spaces developed to inspire innovative collaborations; cutting-edge laboratories to support the emergence of new technologies; and centers to reinforce the intensity and curiosity that drive us.
Students and Faculty
MIT enrolled 11,376 students in 2016–2017, including 4,524 undergraduates and 6,852 graduate students. These MIT students came from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, four territories, and 128 foreign countries. The broad international student representation of 3,303 students made up 10 percent of the undergraduate and 43 percent of the graduate population.
In the same year, there were 1,036 faculty members in MIT's professorial ranks, including 227 women. The total teaching staff numbered 1,872. Most faculty members at MIT teach both undergraduate and graduate students. Undergraduates frequently register for graduate classes, and many undergraduates and graduate students participate, often together, in advanced research.
The confluence of ages, disciplines, and nationalities so characteristic of MIT brings together students and teachers, biologists and architects, humanists and engineers, young and old, and deeply influences the life and experience of every member of the academic community. The result is an academic environment with a strong focus on excellence and a diverse range of interests.
In 1916, MIT moved from its Boston location to Cambridge, and the current campus now encompasses 168 acres that extend more than a mile along the Cambridge side of the Charles River Basin. The heart of the campus is the initial group of interconnecting buildings, designed by architect W. Welles Bosworth (Class of 1889), which facilitate interaction and communication among MIT’s schools and departments.
In addition to the Bosworth buildings, the MIT campus now showcases a range of architectural styles, from neoclassical through modernist, brutalist, and deconstructivist. Among the remarkable landmarks on campus are buildings designed by leading architects such as Alvar Aalto, Frank Gehry, Steven Holl, Fumihiko Maki, I. M. Pei ’40, and Eero Saarinen. Meticulous renewal efforts have preserved the iconic structures on campus and have resulted in no fewer than nine preservation awards from the Cambridge Historical Commission.
Student life on campus is anchored by 18 undergraduate and graduate residence halls, each with its own distinctive personality and community. Planning is underway for the construction of two additional residence halls (one undergraduate and one graduate) and the full renovation of an existing undergraduate residence. In their academic and research endeavors, students benefit from state-of-the-art facilities ranging from wet labs and clean rooms to collaboration areas and makerspaces. Specialized equipment on campus includes 3D printers, laser cutters, wind tunnels, and robot test labs. In every field, innovation and entrepreneurship are fostered by cross-disciplinary facilities like the MIT Media Lab, the Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research, and—currently under construction—MIT.nano, a 200,000-square-foot nanotechnology and advanced imaging center. At its edges, the campus merges with various Cambridge neighborhoods, including Kendall Square, where the close association of industry and research expertise has made this area the most innovative square mile on the planet.
In light of its commitment to decrease its carbon footprint, MIT encourages a multi-modal approach to transportation around campus. As a whole, the campus is urban and walkable, with about 30 gardens and greenspace areas and more than 60 publicly sited works of art to enjoy along the way. MIT also offers free shuttles around campus, bicycle benefits including a bike-share program and fix-it stations, carpool coordination services, and public transportation subsidies.
As the campus continues to evolve, MIT actively pursues measures that improve sustainability and conservation. To date, seven buildings have achieved LEED-Gold Certification, including Fariborz Maseeh Hall (W1), Building E62 (home of MIT Sloan), and the Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research (76). For existing buildings, MIT’s proactive Capital Renewal program is engaged in continuous renewal and renovation projects that promote energy efficiency while ensuring that the campus will support the community’s broad spectrum of educational, research, and student life activities.
The Boston and Cambridge Environment
MIT is in Cambridge, Massachusetts, on the north bank of the Charles River, facing the city of Boston. With over 110,000 people located within a 6.5 square mile area, Cambridge is a unique community with a strong mix of cultural, demographic, and social diversity; intellectual vitality; and technological innovation. The city's diversity is reflected in its international community, with 9 percent of residents being foreign born. Well known as the residence of MIT and Harvard, Cambridge is home to many students and professionals. About 21 percent of its residents are college and graduate students.
The city's largest employment sectors are higher education, government, biotechnology, and healthcare. Cambridge is home to more than 300 life-science and technology-related companies. The Kendall Square neighborhood is a renowned hub of innovation of entrepreneurship.
Boston's Museum of Science and Museum of Fine Arts, the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, the New England Conservatory of Music, Symphony Hall, the New England Aquarium, and the Boston Public Library, as well as Fenway Park and TD Garden for professional baseball, basketball, hockey, and concerts are all within a two-mile radius of the MIT campus. Students can also travel easily to Boston's theater district, where Broadway plays are previewed and local productions are staged.
Among the cultural organizations enriching life in the area are the Boston Symphony Orchestra, the Boston Pops, the Boston Ballet Company, the Opera Company of Boston, the Boston Center for the Arts, Boston University's Huntington Theatre Company, the Loeb Drama Center, and the American Repertory Theater.
MIT is one of more than 50 schools located in the Boston area, including Boston College, Boston University, Brandeis University, Harvard University, Lesley University, Northeastern University, Simmons College, Tufts University, Wellesley College, and many specialized professional art and music schools. The concentration of academic, cultural, and intellectual activity in this area is one of the most significant in the country.
An hour or two away from MIT by car are the mountains of Vermont and New Hampshire, the ocean beaches of Cape Cod, the lakes and rivers of Maine, the small clusters of fishing towns along the New England coast, and many places of historical interest in Massachusetts alone—Salem, Sturbridge, Lexington, Concord, and Plymouth. With its varied landscapes and four distinct seasons, New England offers unlimited possibilities for recreation—skiing, mountain climbing, hiking, sailing, canoeing, kayaking, swimming, and camping.